Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The 12 Steps: A World Force

12 Step Recovery is destined to become a world force. What makes it so loveable is the fact that all 12 Step programs fly in the face of what's considered "normal" for human institutions. None of them own any property, none have CEOs and they all have traditions that are actually followed and are never altered and they thrive without advertising campaigns. 12 Step Recovery programs are cunning, baffling and powerful. They don't follow any of the rules of "normal" 21st Century business plans. AA is approaching it's 75th Anniversary and you'll never find the name of it's leaders because there are none. Same is true for the dozens and dozens of other 12 Step programs that have sprung up to help people heal from other issues.

The greatest thing about all 12 Step programs is the laughter you hear at almost every meeting. And then there's the wisdom, often given with the gentlest humor. I remember being in a very large meeting in the Washington, DC area. The subject was "a loving Higher Power." I wasn't brand new to recovery but I was new enough to think that sounding humble was an excellent thing to do. My turn came and I said, "I know that God loves every one of you unconditionally. But I also know that I was given great gifts and I let God down. I'm sure God doesn't like me and what I've done with all those gifts." And then I sat back, smug in my humility. The leader, an old-timer from Ireland asked me to see him after the meeting. I thought that was odd but I did seek him out when the meeting broke up.

"Aren't you the sweetest little piece of arrogance," he said to me in his Irish brogue. I guess I looked baffled. He went on, "of all the billions of souls in creation, you're the only one He doesn't like." I probably started to cry because he really hurt my little ego. He went on, mercilessly. "We call that reverse arrogance. My God loves all, unconditionally, and that includes you."

And that's been one of the greatest gifts of 12 Step Recovery. Getting out of man's view of all of us and into God's view of all of us. I began to learn from that Irishman that in God's eyes, we're all exactly the same. All of us are critically important to the working out of the Universe. I began understanding what real humility is. There are many blessings that have come from hitting a bottom and needing a new start in life. A sense of humility was just the first for me. How about for you?

1 comment:

  1. I believe 12-Steps are a spiritual common sense that will bring about recovery for the whole planet beginning with each of us if we work them. The 12 traditions, applied to all groups and relationships, are a saving grace that bring about the sense of community and cooperation it will take. Yep, universal force for good.